By Sarah Kahn
South Bay Families Connected hosted a free screening of “Screenagers- Growing Up in the Digital Age” in Mira Costa’s small theatre on May 10 for all South Bay parents and teenagers.
Founder of SBFC Laura McIntire and co-founder of Mira Costa Families Connected Sandi Gleason organized the event. The movie is a documentary created by filmmaker Delaney Ruston dedicated to revealing how time on technology impacts the development of kids and offered solutions on how parents can help kids find balance.
“It was good at covering the wide variety of challenges that technology presents and a wide variety of ages,” said Gleason. “Everything from being a distraction to homework to online bullying to sexting to actual addiction. It also talked a little bit about solutions and what can be done.”
The documentary featured insight from kids and various experts such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s psychology professor Sherry Turkle, author Peggy Orenstein, child development researcher Dimitri Christakis, and more. It included perspectives from Rustom’s life as well as others about the struggles of balancing social media and academics.sou
Watch the trailer for SBFC’s Screenagers.
“It’s not too much of a distraction for me, I do find it harder to concentrate and sit down for long periods of time,” said Gleason. “I find that when I choose to sit down to read something longer and challenging it doesn’t come to me as quickly as it used to when I was younger. I think that kids are better at balancing it.”
SBFC hosted a screening in the past of “Screenagers,” at Redondo Union High School in November. SBFC also hosted a screening of “If Only,” at Peninsula High School on May 16. The short film raises awareness about the dangers of adolescent drug abuse. This event encompassed a panel discussion about drug prevention, treatment, and loss.
“SBFC is trying to do a variety of events each year and cover a variety of topics,” said Gleason. “We balance what oppurtunities are presented to us versus what we go out and seek to round out a full offering.”
SBFC also had a recent addition in their Teen Wellness Speaker Series about “Teen Substance Use in Beach Cities: What Every Parent Should Know” at Hermosa Valley School on May 17 featuring Manhattan Beach City Prosecutor Joan Stein Jenkins and Hermosa Beach Police Department Captain Milton McKinnon as sharinging about trends in drug abuse.
“It’s a really good way to update the commuity,” said Gleason. “These are the people that are dealing with the use most closely. It’s a good way to find out how prevalent of a problem it is and get their input on things we can do to help lower the use of illegal drugs and the early use of alcohol.
The Teen Wellness Speaker Series is dedicated to educating parents about the prevention of substance abuse in their kids and aiding them through growing up. SBFC does plan to offer a variety of screenings in the future.
“We’re still working on how to get parents together more frequently in smaller groups,” said Gleason. “They can discuss what is and isn’t working with their teens.”